Fisherfolk Go Back To Work

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by Kaygianna Toussaint Charlery

As a follow up to my last article dated October 31 2020, I’m privileged to report the following:

1. On Sunday November 1 2020 concerned Fisherfolk met in Vieux Fort to discuss a plan of action in response to the government’s policy position of a week long suspension of vessel licences.

2. On Monday November 2 2020 an entourage of Fisherfolk congregated outside of the Office of the Prime Minister to attempt to get an audience with him to discuss the matter. The PM had a sit down with three (3) representatives where the issue of the vessel license suspension, the lack of consultation and other industry related issues were brought to the fore. Following this, the PM agreed to meet with a wider cross section of the fishing community at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning. It was expected that the PM, officials from the RSLPF including the Marine unit hierarchy, the Department of Fisheries, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture including the Minister, would all have a voice at the table.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, the fishing community is happy to report that our Fisherfolk will return to the water on Thursday November 5, 2020 albeit with agreed upon guidelines that will increase their safety as well as to ensure that we too continue to play our part in the fight against Covid19.
We are appealing to the fishing community to adhere to the guidelines put forward as they are in our best interest.

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1. Ensure that you follow the time stipulations of 4 am as the earliest time to venture out of port and return before the close off time of 7pm.
2. Ensure that your vessel and crew are adequately accounted for by calling the lighthouse master with that information (vessel registration number, crew count and names e.t.c) before departure
3. Ensure that except otherwise exempted, that at no time should your vessel have more than three (3) persons on board.
4. Ensure that all safety equipment is on hand including your Fisher ID.
5. Ensure that each is the other’s keeper and that there’s a level of zero tolerance when it comes to protecting yourself and your family against Covid19 and at the same time protecting your livelihood. If we start thinking in that manner, we’ll understand that it’s our responsibility to report those who are engaged in the illicit/ illegal behavior of human trafficking/ illegal entry of persons.

I take this opportunity to thank the fishing community, the management and members of the different fisher cooperatives, the umbrella organization-St Lucia Fisherfolk, all users of the resource, our regional CNFO, family the media and persons who rallied around us for the level of support we got as we embarked on that journey.

It’s not the end for us, as there are many other areas of concern that we wish to discuss with the authorities for which the Prime Minister has agreed to have a subsequent sit down with us.

For now though we are satisfied that the fishing community can now to return to level of normalcy despite the necessary additional actions that will help us brave this pandemic both from a health standpoint as well as an economic standpoint.

Note: Kaygianna Toussaint Charlery is the Operations Manager Goodwill Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Ltd

Headline photo courtesy Iwona Castiello d’Antonio

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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